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Review: The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator is EA's "Trading Spaces," Could Help Revive Whims

Two neighbors, two days and a budget of a thousand dollars.

These were the starting stipulations when TLC's "Trading Spaces" first began airing in 2000. Over time, the budget changed, but the room renovating concepts stayed the same.

When I began playing The Sims 4: Dream Home Decorator Game Pack, the hit television series immediately came to mind. It was a favorite of my mom's; "Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls" on Discovery Kids was a personal favorite of mine. Though, there are some exceptions and differences between the show and the Game Pack.

Two Sims, discussing interior decoration to highlight The Sims 4: Dream Home Decorator Game Pack.
Patina Wainscot, right, with a client during The Sims 4: Dream Home Decorator Game Pack release date trailer.

Unless you live in the same neighborhood as your clients, you won't be trading spaces with them like in the shows. Your Sim is the sole decorator in the entire game. Literally. While you can travel to plenty of lots and recreate them to your heart's content, there's no way for your controlled Sim to hire an NPC Interior Decorator themselves, either by phone or by using the laptop.

Unlike "Trading Spaces," budgets vary depending on your gig but, because you're making entirely new rooms and levels, it's easy to extend the budgets by selling the items that already exist in the home you're renovating. Depending on styles and items, staying within budget on renovations is easy as going over budget will upset your clients.

The Interior Decorator Career functions the same way as the Freelance Career, in which you have to select from several gigs and pick between the ones that are available based on your career level. Clients who like your first renovation might even ask you to come back for another renovation! The pay that appears in the gig information is the baseline of what you can make, but it is possible to receive tips!

A Latino Sim, wearing gray camo shorts, on a black graphic tee with Plumbobs on the front.
Lake Camron, my Interior Decorator. Their eyes are semi closed because he decided to blink in the middle of taking this screenshot.

The Likes and Dislikes system updated into the base game for Dream Home Decorator has given The Sims 4 more depth to the Sims' socialization and gameplay in general. The Likes and Dislikes can make or break how your client Sims will feel about a renovation. Base game Likes and Dislike center around Color, Music and Hobbies; the Dream Home Decorator Game Pack adds Decor to the system.

Setting up my Sim's Likes and Dislikes has helped me play them differently and think about what they like to do. Since my Sims' favorite Colors are blue and black, I think about getting things from Build/Buy Mode that is one of those two colors versus other colors. Their Like for Storybook, Queen Anne and Gothic Farmhouse Decor will help when I have the Simoleons renovate his house.

The Likes and Dislikes system would be great for The Sims 4 team to get back into utilizing the Whims system for Sims to generate rewards points for different traits and exclusive items. Whims have been put to the side by The Sims 4 team, who have said they have no plans to revisit the system, but I think that would be a missed opportunity.

Whims are a great way to fill in storylines. Giving your Sims things to do helps make stories entertaining and makes The Sims appear more realistic instead of the usual tending to Needs and making money. Current Whims revolve around skills or buying items. I think that could be fleshed out and recreated with Likes and Dislikes, with having more specific Whims for liking Activities. Even social interaction Whims could be included, like Asking a Sim about their Favorite Colors.

The pack has only been out a week, and plenty of bugs and glitches exist. Throughout Facebook groups for The Sims, people had issues with the career and level renovations the higher you went in the Interior Decorator career.

I took it upon myself over the weekend to do the dreaded "Repair Game" option in Origin and--because I have almost all The Sims 4 DLC except for four packs--this repair took the entire day. But, repairing my game worked, and most of the bugs I had gone away, except for my client Sims walking through walls when their eyes are covered on their way to a renovation reveal.

Repairing your game in Origin isn't something I think a lot of Simmers do, understandably so. Origin's Game Repair is considered, by some, the last resort because it requires removing modifications and custom content before implementing, and lengthy repair time can be something of a hindrance, no matter how prepared you are for the repair.

The Sims has been building a lot of momentum with the "Summer of Sims" marketing campaign and is getting ready to announce the next pack on June 10. However, I don't think we've given Dream Home Decorator a lot of time to breathe. I would have preferred a Laundry List or a surprise patch update instead of a new pack announcement already. The summer is just starting (we haven't even his the solstice yet!); I would hate to get saturated by new pack news when I'm still fiddling with the new one.

If you're thinking about buying The Sims 4: Dream Home Decorator Game Pack before it goes on sale for the first time, I don't think you will be disappointed. I suggest an Origin Game Repair after purchase, but before you begin to play. It will help work out any bugs or glitches, like repeated cooking. This pack adds a lot of depth to the base game we have not seen in quite a while, and it's worth every Simoleon.

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